The U.S. Department of Education is releasing a four-part multimedia series on Medium telling the story of how Justin Mesteth, an 18-year-old Native American student on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, gets accepted to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and the adults in his life who have helped him succeed. The series is based on the idea “It takes a village” and each piece identifies a specific person who has impacted his life and highlights their contribution to it. The series also touches on the obstacles that Justin and his family have faced, including a mother who struggled with alcoholism, becoming a single parent household, chronic illness and the unique challenges of growing up on Pine Ridge. This first multimedia effort by the Education Department tells a story through words, images and videos.
This series is another step theObama Administration is doing to improve the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native children. Under the Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) program, the Department has awarded more than $5.3 million in grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready. President Obama’s 2017 budget expands NYCP funding to $53 million. NYCP is a part of the President’s Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative to help Native youth. Last year, the Department, in coordination with the Bureau of Indian Education, brought together educators with local, state, and federal leaders for further collaboration on framework for schools to better support Pine Ridge students.
Four-part multimedia series showcases success and challenges of Native American student Justin Mesteth
in First Ever Multimedia Series, “Justin Goes to College”